Ted Nugent Nutty Jerry's April 15, 2011
See our pics of The Nuge and his fans in our slideshow.
"The whole world sucks but at least America sucks the best," yells madman Ted Nugent as he wrenches out "The Star-Spangled Banner" from his guitar in front of at least 2,000 souls at out east at Nutty Jerry's in Winnie. Aftermath agrees with his sentiment, and we agree with the guitar solo he will unreel, turning our national anthem into a wickedly raunchy jam.
Friday night's Nugent gig, which featured the welcome return of his early solo collaborator Derek St. Holmes, wasn't quite like the gig out at the Pasadena Fairgrounds last July, which was more like "Uncle Ted's Patriotic Variety Show."
This one featured way more music, digging deep down to his own funk and garage-rock roots, and much less of the fiery speech that colored that eye-popper last summer.
The confines of Nutty Jerry's, plus other factors, had Nugent playing a theatrically scaled-down show. Gone was cartoon backdrop of the Nuge triumphantly barreling over liberal pundits and politicians, the machine guns, and the video presentations.
But for all we lost since last summer, he more than made up for it in riffs and yeah, that righteous Nuge-itude. (Copyright pending...)
For starters, Nugent is a very underrated guitar player. For all the media sensationalism that has been par the course for the past 20 years or so years since he came out as a full-fledged gun-toting, bow-hunting outdoorsy messiah, it's easily lost in the shuffle that he has helped manufacture some of the greatest riffs for over 40 years since his Amboy Dukes' ("Breast-Fed Gator") hit the scene in 1968.
He's Detroit rock, through and through. It's the MC5, early Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, The Stooges, Mitch Ryder, and most everything else that gets pilfered hourly in basements and practice spaces the world over. He just puts a warpaint-stained stank on it that turns off the meek.
During his own "Wango Tango," he managed to fold in The Kinks' "You Really Got Me," The Capitols' "Cool Jerk," and some James Brown gumbo into what is easily his most popular hit. St. Holmes came out a few songs into the show for the cuts he sang on like "Stranglehold" and "Just What The Doctor Ordered" and stuck around for awhile to play with Nugent and his "Funk Brothers."
Riffs drip off Nugent's fingers, and his tall stature makes him even more menacing live. He stomps and he howls, at one point telling the crowd that it was "Chuck who invented this shit," reminding us of the aged rock monolith's own frustrating show on the same stage over a month ago.
"Every day of my life is illegal. Except in fucking Texas," says Nugent, noting his current Texas residency, around the time he plays "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang," and going to an extended jive-talk session that just touches on the state of the economy and leadership of the country in 2011.
We get the shorthand version of the national review we heard last summer, but sounds no different than any other normal American currently watching the news and reading the news, seeing both parties doing their damnedest to make us all lose faith in political authority.
Closer "Great White Buffalo" came complete with Nugent in his trademark Native American headdress, but without the flaming arrow into the guitar like is standard fare at his shows.
No worries, though. Aftermath shot a flaming chopstick at our own washing machine once we got home, while dressed in only a brown bath towel to make up for its absence.
Personal Bias: This album cover.
The Crowd: Thirsty for rock and roll, full of beer and wine, and completely enthralled with Nugent for two hours. And covered in camo. Lots of camo.
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Seen in the Crowd: Opener Mark Chesnutt, beer in hand, edging closer to the stage and nearly into the photo pit for a better look at the action during the first five songs. Also, there was a pretty cute girl dressed like Nugent circa 1976 running around the venue, complete with loincloth and headdress.
Random Notebook Dump: One day we hope to be called the Space City Madman.